Cocaine marketed as ‘ethically sourced’

In modern times, there are certain buzzwords that we’re used to, and a lot of them are to do with ethics, sustainability and the environment.

Consumers are, more than ever, focused on the ethical production of the products that they buy, and concerned with ensuring that the things that they enjoy aren’t causing harm to the environment or other people. So much so, in fact, that it has given rise to an intriguing new type of marketing in the underworld of street drugs.

Selling through the dark web, a wave of drug dealers are rebranding their product as ‘ethically sourced’ cocaine – colloquially referred to as ‘woke coke’.

Capitalising on the interest of middle-class, middle-aged buyers in remaining ethical in every aspect of their lives, even their most hedonistic facets, these dealers are using terms such as ‘fair trade’ and ‘conflict-free’ in order to sell the drug to more socially-conscious users.

In a now-famous speech referring to the phenomenon, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said “There are groups of middle-class people who will sit round and happily think about global warming and fair trade, and environmental protection and all sorts of things, organic food, but think there is no harm in taking a bit of cocaine.”

Drugs listings on the dark web are free from the rules and regulations of search engine algorithms, and are instead subject to TripAdvisor-style ratings, where dealers use these terms in order to gain a competitive advantage over others.

In the 2019 Global Drug Survey, 85% of respondents said that they would be willing to pay more for drugs that they believed were ‘ethically sourced’. In London, where a gram of cocaine tends to sell for around £30 – £40, people said that they would be willing to spend up to 25% more.

Antony Loewenstein, an author whose book Pills, Powder and Smoke discusses this trend, and argues that whilst the image projected is that: “Dealers promote and sell ethically sourced cocaine.“Everybody in the supply chain — from the farmers in Colombia to drug mules in Europe — is treated fairly, given a decent wage and not prosecuted for their activities.”In fact, chances are these dealers have no better idea of where their product originates than any others, making it unlikely that these claims are genuine.

Britain And Cocaine

A recent study of wastewater by King’s College London found that consumption of cocaine in Britain is at a striking level and continues to rise year on year. Bristol was found to be the city with the highest rate of consumption per person in Europe, whilst London gets through the largest amount – roughly 23kg a day. According to the Global Drug Survey, British cocaine users can often get drugs delivered more quickly than a takeaway, with a third of respondents saying that they could get cocaine delivered in less than half an hour.

Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at drug policy reform charity Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said: ‘This worrying trend reflects the rising purity and availability of cocaine we have seen in recent years. There has also been an increase in cocaine-related deaths.

Analysis suggests that one in every 50 Londoners take the drug every single day of the week. Which is troubling because, aside from being a class A drug which, if found in your possession, can land you seven years in prison, it’s an ethical quagmire with negative implications for the lives of everyone in its supply chain. So it’s hardly surprising the average middle class recreational user is keen to separate their Saturday night line of cocaine with human misery on a large scale.”

Can Coke Really Be Woke?

Despite the claims of dealers on the dark web and in the streets, cocaine continues to be a serious cause of environmental and social damage. Last year in Colombia, where more than half of the cocaine consumed in central and western Europe comes from, more than 40,000 people were forced to flee their homes as illegal armed groups battled to seize control of drug trafficking routes.

Cocaine also has a huge impact on the environment. The National Crime Agency (NCA) have reported that just one kilogram of cocaine requires the destruction of one acre of rainforest, with the chemicals from the production process leaching into the local water supply and damaging drinking water for both humans and animals.

Meanwhile, in London, recent figures revealed that there are more than 4,000 vulnerable young people coerced or groomed into running county lines drug-trafficking currently in the UK. Whilst it is true that consumers buying from the dark web are able to negate some of the damaging effects to local areas, minimising crime and easing the burden on vulnerable and poverty-stricken communities, this cleans up less than half of the entire supply chain. There is no real way to ensure that exploitation hasn’t occurred elsewhere in the chain, and it is almost certain that it has.

Ocean Recovery Centre

Whether your coke is ‘woke’ or not, the drug is easy to become addicted to, and the scale of the problem is clear when you take into account the latest research results. If you believe that you have a problem with cocaine, and are looking for support or advice, the Ocean Recovery Centre can offer you or your loved ones help.

We provide residential rehabilitation services, as well as a lengthy aftercare programme which can help you to better understand your substance abuse issues and get clean from drugs once and for all. We are also able to offer advice and information that can help you to understand the drugs that you are taking.

If you want to find out more, you can call 01253 847 553, or text HELP to 83222, and we’ll walk you through the next steps.

John Gillen - Director at Ocean Recovery
John Gillen

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.